A Beeswax Screen

The prompt today, ‘screen’ gives me the chance to tell you one of my favourite stories. I’ve actually posted this story before but that wouldn’t be Stream of Consciousness to re-blog and I’m happy to tell it again.

I worked at a farmers market stand for many years selling honey and beeswax products that my husband and I produced. There was an Italian lady who came often, picked up a beeswax bar, smelled it, smiled and put it back. I quickly learned she didn’t speak English so we would just smile at each other when she came to smell the wax. They were only $1 but she never bought one.

One day she came with her daughter who said, “My mother wanted me to come today to tell you why she loves the smell of beeswax so much.”

In the small town where she was from, the ladies would get together when a couple was married. They took long strands of cotton thread and ran it back and forth through pieces of beeswax until it was covered and stiff then gathered around a table and wove a screen to make a curtain for the doorway of their new kitchen. They laughed and gossiped and had a great day. Everyone had one and they lasted for years and years.

When the Lady came to the market, she would smell the beeswax bar and it would take her back to those wonderful memories. She said, in the summer, when a breeze blew through the doorway you could smell the beeswax.

I gave her a beeswax bar. At first she wouldn’t accept it but I told her daughter it was easily worth such a great story and I was so happy she took the time to tell me.

I would never know about that beeswax screen if she hadn’t told me and I wonder how many great stories, ideas and customs are lost over time. Still, after all these years I’m so grateful they took the time to me this story so it can be great memory for me, too.